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Complaint and switching intention after service failures - the role of affective commitment and complaint barriers

Brock, Christian and Ahlert, Dieter and Evanschitzky, Heiner (2008) Complaint and switching intention after service failures - the role of affective commitment and complaint barriers. In: Proceedings of the AMA SERVSIG International Research Conference. University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom, pp. 49-50. ISBN 9780956112200

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Abstract

Previous research estimates that only 5-10 percent of customers voice their complaint to the firm after a service failure. Therefore, the majority of dissatisfied customers switch the provider. Several studies postulate to ease the complaint voicing by reducing the perceived complaint barriers, e.g. by offering various communication channels. The current paper provides new insight about the reasons of not voicing the complaints and the perceived reduction of complaint barriers. Based on a 2(low vs. high affective commitment) X 2 (low vs. high complaint barrier) experimental study (consisting of two industry settings: restaurant and fashion retailing) with 280 students the findings entail interaction effects between affective commitment and perceived complaint barriers, and their impact on complaint intention. More precisely, results find some support for the hypothesis that committed customers display a higher intention to complain than weakly committed customers irrespective of complaint barriers. Furthermore, the paper provides new findings about the coherency of switching intention of dissatisfied customers and the perceived complaint barriers. Results find some support for the hypothesis that customers, faced with low levels of complaint barriers, exhibit a lower level of switching intention than customers faced with high levels of complaint barriers in restaurant setting. Managerial implications of these findings for complaint managers of service industries are discussed.